"Mental Health Providers Struggle With Budget Cuts: Officials Say Demand For Services Growing As Budgets Cut"
wmur.com - September 29, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Some of New Hampshire's largest mental health care providers will have a lot less money to render services soon.
State and federal Medicaid revenue funds make up between 65 percent and 85 percent of the budget for 10 private centers that help the mentally ill. Now, that budget has been reduced, while demand for such services is on the rise.
The nonprofit groups that are affected by the cuts said they will impact about 8 percent of their total budgets.
The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester serves about 9,000 people who are considered severely and persistently mentally ill. Budget cuts will cost the organization about $1 million out of its $20 million total operating budget, and officials said some tough decisions are going to be made.
"There's very little question that there's going to be some impact on services, and there'll have to be some reductions and we hope no program closings, but that's certainly not out of the question," said Ken Snow of the Mental Health Center.
Last year, the 10 mental health centers received almost $93 million in state and federal Medicaid funds. This year's budget is about $91 million.
The cuts are coming while demand for services is skyrocketing. In 2008, there was a 10 percent jump in the number of mentally ill patients seeking services. This year, there has been an 11 percent jump.
State officials said that with more patients and less money the nonprofits will have to decide where to spend and where to cut.
"We'll likely see an increase in wait periods for people to access services," said Erik Riera of the Department of Health and Human Services. "We may see some specific program closures, but we're hoping providers continue to prioritize services to those who need it most."
Roland Lamy Jr. works with the New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association, which represents the nonprofits. He said the cost of cutting services will be passed along to someone else.
"We suspect that people will end up in the emergency room setting and other types of care," he said. "It's really difficult to anticipate what will happen, but we know people will not be getting the appropriate care in the appropriate setting because of this."
The cuts take effect on October 15, 2009.
Source (with video):
September 29, 2009
NH Governor John Lynch is the biggest phony in the World! He has indebted the state government by borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to spend future tax money on operating costs. Lynch is both a tax & spend AND a borrow & spend politician. The people of New Hampshire get the worse of both political parties in one man!
Keeping true to his management style, Lynch is displacing the needs of poor people on Medicaid who depend on mental health social services. During this time of increased demand for mental health social service, Lynch is cutting another one million dollars in the middle of October 2009.
Where does Lynch think these mentally ill poor people on Medicaid are going to end up?
Of course, they'll end up in Emergency Rooms dehydrated from homelessness and hunger. They may end up self-medicating on alcohol and drugs. They may end up in jail from domestic violence and other crimes. In any of these scenarios, the costs of E.R.s, homelessness, hunger, alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, crime, incarceration, and the like, will be much higher than the one million dollar cut to Medicaid services to mental health!
BUT, I do not believe that the NH Governor cares. After all, he keeps raising taxes and borrowing more and more and more money to pay today's bills without regard for the future. In summary, NH Governor John Lynch is penny wise, but pound foolish!
"Lynch, lawmakers use fear, intimidation"
The Concord Monitor, Letter, October 2, 2009
I was quoted in the Sunday Monitor as saying, "After serving in Iraq, in the fight against terrorism, I didn't appreciate coming back and being terrorized by the governor and Legislature" ("Lynch, union on the outs," front page, Sept. 27). Also on Sunday, a commentator on WMUR's Closeup program said I had no business comparing the governor's actions to those of a terrorist.
As an explanation for my remarks, I believe that when the State Employees' Association wouldn't give up the 5.5 percent raise last January - which the governor asked us to forego even before negotiations started - the governor and legislators enacted retribution by passing House Bill 2 in June, forcing $25 million in personnel cuts. He painted targets on our backs and got his revenge through negotiations and with the threat of massive layoffs.
The governor and Legislature have chosen to use fear and intimidation to force their will on a large group of state employees with the intent to deprive them of financial gains they have worked for and the dignity and respect that comes with those gains.
They have disregarded our ability make these sacrifices in our personal finances to help balance their deficit budget. They have chosen to use mass destruction rather than selective targeting to achieve their means. As a military witness to the oppression in Iraq, I believe their actions seem like the characteristics of a terrorist regime, or at least an oppressive governing body, to be capable of such thoughtless acts.
(The writer is an auto repair technician for the state Department of Transportation and a construction mechanic for the U.S. Naval Reserve.)
"HHS chief unveils $28M in NH budget cuts"
By Norma Love, Associated Press Writer, February 5, 2010
CONCORD, N.H. -- Families needing state help with child care will pay more starting March 1 under a plan to shore up New Hampshire's social services budget, the head of Health and Human Services said Friday.
HHS commissioner Nicholas Toumpas released a plan containing $28 million in cuts and adjustments to his budget for this year. Toumpas said he still must identify another $15 million in savings to balance his budget before the fiscal year ends June 30.
"It's a series of very difficult decisions that need to be made," Toumpas told the joint legislative Fiscal Committee. "I wish to God I didn't have to make some of those choices."
The department's $2 billion budget is about one-third of this year's state budget. The cuts are from the general tax budget of roughly $765 million. The department already cut almost $9 million this year, partly through layoffs, after the union representing most state workers rejected furloughs.
The cuts are to ensure money is available to meet the high demand for services in the poor economy. Toumpas said the number needing help grew by 19,000 from December 2008 to December 2009. Most applied for welfare and Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, he said.
Shortfalls also are expected in community mental health services and several programs for the elderly. The state must shore up those programs before funding runs out, he said.
Toumpas outlined a series of measures aimed at filling budget holes. They range from not filling 450 jobs at his agency -- 14 percent of his work force -- to reducing the reimbursement rate paid to nursing homes, hospitals and others who provide services to the poor.
"I don't take a lot of solace from the fact there are states in far worse shape than we are," he said.
The New Hampshire Hospital Association called the plan "an inadequate solution" and pointed out the Medicaid reimbursement by the state fails to cover the cost of care hospitals provide.
Toumpas said few measures will have a direct impact on the public needing services. The most notable exception is the increase in co-payments 4,763 families will pay for subsidized child care to eliminate a $9.5 million shortfall in the program this year.
For example, parents in the lowest income group -- earning up to $18,310 -- will see their co-payment per child rise from $1.78 to $9.33. Parents with higher earnings will have the biggest increases and some will wind up being responsible for the total cost.
Toumpas said estimates 582 of the 8,097 children currently receiving the subsidy will drop out of the program due to the higher co-payment amounts.
Gov. John Lynch delivered a letter to the committee urging it to support Toumpas' requests to shift money among programs to cover higher priority services. Toumpas can make some changes on his own, but needs the committee's approval or the Legislature's approval in some cases.
"These choices are difficult, but they are necessary in order to ensure that we can meet increasing demand for core services," Lynch wrote lawmakers.
The committee approved several of Toumpas' requests Friday.
Toumpas said he expects to face equally difficult choices for several more years. Indications are the demand for services will continue even if the economy begins to recover, he said. Federal stimulus funding also ends Dec. 31 though Congress may extend the help to states, he said.
"In our view, what we're going through is not a passing storm," said Toumpas.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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